This year see’s the start of a new project for me titled ‘Units of Time’. Throughout my career as an artist process has played an important part in each of the pieces I have created, more so than the end results. My work reflects pre-occupation with process and it’s ritualistic and repetitive nature. Using a limited vocabulary of mark making I explore the subtle differences that emerge within the repetition process.
Never though have I recorded this process. A lot of the time when I’ve exhibited pieces the first thing a person might ask is ‘how long did that take?’. This blog will record my process and progress over the next the next few months while I create work for a exhibition I have in June titled ‘Meticulous Stitchers’.
My aim for the show is this make a series of embroidered cubes ‘Units of time’. I’ll keep a written and visual diary for each piece as I make them, recording the amount of time I’ve spent on each cube, some of which will be exhibited as part of the final work.
Like many people living is this fast paced world I complain that times seems to fly and we wonder where all the time went. Before you know it a year has passed and there is no much a physical record. I like the idea that these cubes will be a tactile object, a physical record of time that your are able to hold in yours hands, making this invisible force something more tangible.
When I think of my own daily routine there is a lot of time that I class as ’empty time’, watching TV at night, the commute to the work. This is a time when a lot of us are not doing that much. In response to this many of cubes will be completed in these periods and inspired by patterns and details observed.
I hope you’ll stay with me over the next months while I explore this theme of time and process. If you have any thoughts please do connect with me.
For more about me and my work you can go to richardmcvetis.co.uk
This week I:
Finished stitching cube 2. Now titled 21.50
Started cube 3.
Stitched for 19hr 23mins.
Began reading Tanya Harrods new book ‘The Real Thing – essays on making in the modern world’
Connected with Artist Ness Donnelly who’s blog really resonates with my current thought process.
Started drawing my stitched cubes.
Visited the Whitechapel Gallery and fell in love with the work of Sophie Taube-Arp
Watched a wonderful documentary on Vivian Maier
A few weeks ago I introduced you to the beginning of my new project ‘Units of time’. My progress so far is detailed below.
The title of each Unit (cube) I make refers to the number of hours and minutes I’ve spent stitching so far. The date refers to the period within which I stitch each cube. These titles are temporary as each Unit is not yet complete.
22.12.2014 – 12.01.2015
13.01.2015 – 24.01.2015
This week I have also been researching what exactly drives and excites my practice. This has included everything from minimalism to craft. In order to better organise this research I will categorise my findings into four themes Mark Making, Making, Textiles & Space. Along with my making each week I will discuss some or all of this themes.
I’ve always been interested in the simplest of marks, exploring surface variation through various processes driven by different media. As a child the medium I had most access to was pen and paper. I would create entire worlds on the back pages of my school exercise book, building and destroying futuristic cities with a black ball point pen. The miniature scale of these worlds I created and still create play a key part my understanding and organising of space. This method of drawing with black ink I found to be very satisfying and my interest in this continued right through to high school and college. One book I remember particularly well and one to which I refer quite a lot is Van Nostrands ‘Manual of Rendering With Pen and Ink’. I loved the idea that with pen and ink you were able to explore and create different subtleties in texture and materials. Embroidery for me has become an extension of this exploration of surface through rendering. Substituting the ink for thread and the paper for fabric. The subtly and dimension to stitch has fascinated for over ten years. When I’m stitching I’m endeavouring to recreate the flatness of pen on paper.
So my introduction to the work of textiles was made and I became more and more apparent of this very labour intensive medium. I’m really involved in the process and being handmade for me is very important. There is something very satisfying about making it yourself and although repetitive, no two marks of the same. The repetition, the obsessiveness of the mark making is very seductive and therapeutic. Some days if I haven’t had time to stitch I feel deflated and I crave a ‘hit’ of stitching (I’m not joking I have these days). As an introvert and a perfectionist, embroidery has become more than just about mark making but about taking control and slowing down parts of my day. It’s become a recharge point where I can collect my thoughts and take time out.
As I previously mentioned in my first blog post for this project ‘Units of Time’ I’m intrigued by this idea of time and textiles, and actually how through textiles I am able to record and capture a moment. In a recent article by Kirsty Bell for Tate ETC she touches on this point perfectly ‘The mechanical process of weaving, meanwhile describes the present moment – it becomes, through its own manufacture, an embodiment of time itself, whether the accelerated speed of industrial production, or the deliberate pace of handmade cloth’. An obvious example this is fashion and it’s ability to define a point in time. Through the stitched cubes I’m hoping to define my time.
Next time more stitched cubes, more about mark making and the first part to Space